#Hashtag – The Most Powerful Character on Twitter

“However, connected educators around the world have taken matters into their own hands and begun “personalizing” their learning by reaching out to colleagues near and far in an effort to learn as much as possible about how to continuously get better at what they do (Whitaker, Zoul, Casas, 417).”

“What Connected Educators Do Differently”

Choice is one of the most powerful tools in education. It transfers power, ownership, and control to the learner and has become one of my favorite strategies when working with both students and educators. Letting go and allowing the learner to control their own path is a major shift that can transform the learning environment in a classroom and school. It is also one of my favorite characteristics of Twitter as users are given the choice on when to access it, who to follow, and what to explore.

bookThe title of Key Connector 2 in What Connected Educators Do Differently encompasses that perfectly as it states, “Learn What They Want, When They Want, How They Want.” That titles sums up everything I love about Twitter. The user is in complete control of their own professional development. What better way to differentiate instruction for teachers when it comes to professional development than to use the power of Twitter.  Educators know better than anyone the importance of differentiation when it comes to our students, however, that same mentality is not always transferred over to professional development and learning for teachers.

Twitter hashtags (#) are a built in tool that is perfect for differentiating professional development and increasing collaboration among educators within a topic, subject area, building, district, and even the world. Finding the right hashtag will open up a new world of learning and inspiration for teachers.  My favorite way of describing hashtags comes from Alex Howard (@digiphile) when he says “#hashtags on Twitter are like channels on cable TV (Apirl 4, 2009).” No matter your subject area or interest there is a hashtag out there for you! Once you find hashtags that fit your interest you will find amazing educators that will be there to support, inspire, and assist you.

At the end of Key Connector 2 the authors, Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker), Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy), and Jeffrey Zoul (@Jeff_Zoul) provide resources and encourage readers to find hashtags that will benefit them. Over the last couple of years I have built a similar type of resource for teachers in my district that includes a number of hashtags by topic and sites that get teachers started on their journey into Twitter. Below I have included some of my favorite hashtags that are always shown on my Tweetdeck.  I also encourage you to check out my list of the best educational hashtags and other Twitter resources that include schedules of educational Twitter chats created by Sean Junkins (@sjunkins).

My Favorite Twitter Hashtags

#bpsne – The hashtag for Bellevue Public Schools where teachers share resources and all the great things happening in their classrooms.

#ipadacademy – The hashtag created for the Bellevue Public Schools teachers involved in the iPad Academy.  A great place to gain insight into 1:1 iPad classrooms in addition to great resources.

#nebedchat & #nebedu – The two educational hashtags used by Nebraska educators.

#edchat – One of the longest running educational hashtags.

#edtech & edtechat – Great hashtags when wanting to learn and connect within the world of educational technology.

#tlap – One of the most inspiring hashtags that brings together teachers inspired by Dave Burgess (@burgessdave) and his book Teach Like a Pirate.

#sschat & #sstlap – By far my two favorite hashtags for Social Studies teachers and as a former Social Studies teacher these two are still alive and well on my Tweetdeck.

#educoach & #personalizedPD – These are two hashtags that have really gotten my attention the last six months as I moved into the instructional technology coaching arena.

I would love for you to share your favorite hashtags.  Leave a comment and lets continue the conversation!